Oral care waste recycling competition for schools - Education Matters
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National oral care waste recycling competition for schools

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A national recycling competition by TerraCycle is encouraging students to go head-to-head as they collect oral care waste, diverting traditionally non-recyclable items from landfill and giving them a new lease of life.

Students from over 1200 schools are expected to compete in the Colgate Community Garden Challenge, where all pre, primary, intermediate, special and secondary schools in Australia can register, collect and ship all their oral care waste to TerraCycle which will then turn it into new products.

To date, over one million oral care items such as post-consumed toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes (including electric toothbrush heads) and packaging, toothbrush and toothpaste tube containers have been diverted from landfill.

The Colgate Community Garden Challenge is part of the broader Oral Care Recycling Program sponsored by Colgate, which was launched in 2014. Through the Oral Care Recycling Program, over $100,000 in donations and prizes were raised for schools and charities.

In celebration of the one million items achievement, Colgate and Chemist Warehouse will donate seven community garden sets, made with recycled materials, as major prizes in the 2020 Colgate Community Garden Challenge.

Three of the recycled community garden sets will be awarded to the schools who accrue the most Garden Points from collections and online votes, and four will be allocated at random to any school who sends in at least one eligible shipment during the competition period; to ensure every school, large or small, is in the running.

The seven major prizes include a garden bed, bench and planter box, and picnic table made with recycled oral care waste as well as a $200 Bunnings Warehouse gift voucher.

Additionally, in monthly prize draws, schools will have the chance to win one of two prize packs of 60 upcycled toothbrush pens – another example of how oral care waste can become a valuable new product.

Colgate Vice President and General Manager of South Pacific, Julie Dillon, and Chemist Warehouse Group General Manager, Ilias Babalis said the one million recycled items milestone reflected the popularity of the program.

“Colgate is excited to once again partner with TerraCycle to offer this exceptionally popular program to students,” Ms Dillon said. “The number of participants reflects just how important recycling and sustainability is to local communities, and we’re pleased to provide a solution.”

Mr Babalis added, “Open to all young Australian students, the initiative helps educate kids about the importance of recycling, up-cycling and keeping as much waste out of landfill as possible. We’re looking forward to building on the success that was achieved in 2019 where almost 200,000 pieces of Oral Care waste were diverted from landfill – an amazing result.”

School can register to join the competition by clicking here.

Pictured above: Last year’s winner, Newcastle High School.